Style / April 2019

Look of the Issue: Drake's Needlecord Suit

Corduroy isn’t usually the first fabric you turn to when the mercury rises, but with enviable counter-intuitiveness Drake’s have repurposed the traditional winter cloth to put a spring in your step.

Hopefully, by the time this issue of The Rake is available, the weather will look a lot different than it did when you read my inaugural style column in February. If you were to compare the accompanying illustrations (by the talented Firdaus Ahmed), they would look very different, too. This is down to the passing of the seasonal torch, of course, which means all those heavy-duty polo coats, tweed sports jackets and 14oz flannels have been cleaned, pressed and put away, and the cottons and linens in their more vibrant tones have entered the rotation.

This season, Drake’s have caught my eye with their micro-wale corduroy suit in a biscuity beige. You might be thinking that that contradicts what I’ve just said above, and in some ways it does, as corduroy is mostly a winter cloth, favoured because of its heat-retaining properties and heavy handle. Drake’s, however, have proved with this suit that corduroy can be flexible. Made in Naples, it’s unlined and features a half-canvas construction and a three-roll-two button configuration with flat-fronted, side-buckled trousers. Easily broken up into separates, it’s a fantastic, easy-to-wear ready-to-wear suit.

It’s been paired with a shirt that, for me, verges on the adventurous. I wrote last time that I like to keep things simple, and I do. But this two-tone butcher stripe shirt in a super-fine cotton from Puglia-based G. Inglese was too great to ignore. When choosing a ready-to-wear shirt for spring/summer, opt for Italian-made, as they have a greater understanding of the climatical demands of the season, and consistently use lightweight cottons in fun colours and  patterns. This one is exactly that, and, with its sartorial details, such as hand-sewn crow’s foot buttonholes, is very special. There’s been a shift away from cutaway collars recently, but that’s irrelevant. If a collar style suits you and your facial form, stick with it and ignore the naysayers.

The tie is from Serà Fine Silk, an accessories label based in Milan whose wares are produced in Como. I clearly haven’t shaken off my affinity to grenadine ties, but the diagonal stripe adds a subtle pattern clash against the shirt while also holding it all together.

I’ve also chosen Ettinger’s canvas tote bag, which is a style of holdall I’m most fond of. It bridges the gap between a backpack (which in some ways I’ve grown out of) and a briefcase (which is too formal for day-to-day use). As such, a tote is perfect for me. Made in England, it has a central zip compartment for valuables and a leather handle.

Finishing off the look is a pair of Racquet sneakers by the Swedish minimalist footwear brand C.QP. They’re sleek enough to be worn with tailoring, and as a result of the fairly casual ensemble, work seamlessly. A brown suede tasselled loafer could easily be swapped in for a formal lift, if circumstances require it.

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Benedict Browne

Benedict is The Rake's Associate Style Editor.